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Moses Mendelssohn: (1729-1786) Philosopher 

Moses Mendelssohn was born September 6, 1729 in Anhalt-Dessauu in Germany. 

Mendelssohn was the first Jew to bring secular culture to those living an Orthodox Jewish life. He valued reason and felt that anyone could arrive logically at religious truths. He argued that what makes Judaism unique is its divine revelation of a code of law. He wrote many philosophical treatises and is considered the father of the Jewish Enlightenment, as well as a focal point of the German Enlightenment for over three decades.

Throughout his life he worked as a merchant he continued to write. He campaigned for emancipation and instructed Jews to form bonds with the gentile governments. He tried to improve the relationship between Jews and Christians as he argued for tolerance and humanity. He became the symbol of the Jewish Enlightenment, the Haskalah.

Mendelssohn died on January 4, 1786.

Further Reading:

Jewish Virtual Library   

Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University

Mihal, John. Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 10,1937. ‘Wisdom’s House’ Dwells in Hebrew Cultural Garden.”